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Hof-Fitz Naturals Win July D 16U Championship

The Hof-Fitz Naturals won the HSBN Boys of Summer July D 16U title Monday night.

July D 16U Championship Photo Gallery

The Hof-Fitz Naturals have thrived offensively on the way through the 16U bracket of the HSBN Boys of Summer July D tournament. Monday evening that same high-octane unit led the way to a 13-3 decision over the Paladins in the championship, which was played at Len Koch Field in Hollywood.

The Naturals (4-0) erased an early deficit to take the lead in the bottom of the first, before closing things out with a six-run fifth inning that ended the game. The big day capped a four-game stretch in which the Naturals out-scored their opponents 47-9. It is the second straight July D crown for the Naturals, who won 3-2 over the Boca Lions in the 2015 title game.

Both teams also move on to play in the Boys of Summer Champions tournament that begins on Tuesday, as both clubs also previously earned an invitation by advancing to the championship in earlier Boys of Summer tournaments this summer.

The Naturals batted around the order to run away with things in the fifth, as the first seven batters reached safely to start the inning. Zach Beekman walked, but was later caught out on the bases. Luis Fuentes singled, Hunter Fitz-Gerald walked and Ricardo Arambulo was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a passed ball allowed Fuentes to come in. Louis Esposito then delivered an RBI double to drive in Fitz-Gerald.

Zach Spano drew a walk to load the bases back up and keep the pressure on. Tyler Kraft was hit by a pitch for a tough RBI, Tomas Pegasus followed with an RBI single and Devin Makovsky drove in a pair with a flare to shallow center field.

Makovsky also earned the win on the mound, going the distance while allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks.

The Paladins (3-1) opened the game by grabbing a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Julian Beckett was hit by a pitch, stole second and came home on an RBI single to center field from Austin Koehler. A pair of passed balls allowed Austin to also come around and cross the plate.

The Naturals answered back with their first swings. Gary Swanson walked, Pegasus singled past third base and Fuentes lined an RBI single into the right field corner. Pegasus scored on a passed ball and Fitz-Gerald plated Fuentes with an RBI single to third. Arambulo then delivered a double to the left field corner to put the Naturals up by two runs.

Beekman singled and later scored on an error in the third, and Louis Esposito and Spano both scored in the fourth for the Naturals.

The Paladins added one last run in a rally bid in the top of the seventh. Zach Koehler walked and stole second, before advancing to third on a single from Jeff Cohick. Kyle Spohn then singled to right field to drive in Zach Koehler and make it a 7-3 score.

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